Building a Culture of Innovation

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Insights from Greg Brouwer, General Manager, Technology and Innovation

Originally posted at: https://www.teck.com/news/connect/issue/volume-22,-2018/table-of-contents/building-a-culture-of-innovation

In January of this year, Greg Brouwer was appointed General Manager, Technology and Innovation, responsible for advancing Teck’s innovation and technology activities and strategy.

In addition to managing that pipeline of activities, Greg and his team are also doing an internal and external scan of ways we can evolve and strengthen our culture of innovation.

Here, Greg shares some observations on what that scan has unearthed and the opportunities that have been revealed.

On Harnessing Energy and Excitement…

“There’s a lot of buzz and excitement in the innovation and technology space, so near-term, one of our focus areas is how to harness that energy and excitement and derive value in the most efficient and effective way.”

“An important part of that is looking at how we can embed a culture of innovation at Teck, which means each of us feeling a responsibility to innovate and also having the mechanisms in place to share ideas.”

“This can be a challenge; how do you unleash the energy in a workforce of 10,000+ and manage that properly so that we’re evaluating ideas efficiently, always with a view of driving real and material value.”

“To help improve that process, we’re doing some benchmarking work to see how other companies have done this really well, and we’re also looking internally, getting feedback from a cross section of business and functional units, to get their views on ways we can effectively harness this energy and drive Teck’s culture of innovation forward.”

On Being Ready for Change…

“A lot of our workforce is very comfortable using powerful technology in their day-to-day lives—it’s actually quite amazing; the mobile phones we carry in our pockets today are millions of times more powerful than the computing technologies NASA used to first land humans on the moon in 1969.”

“At the same time, the cost of those powerful technologies has decreased dramatically.”

“Together, this makes it much easier, and an opportune time, to bring new technologies to Teck and leverage the benefits; we’re excited to see where that will take us over the coming years.”

On Opportunities and the Digital Technology Supercluster…

“Teck’s involvement in Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster has great potential to involve our employees in exciting innovation projects in a completely new way, and also to pilot groundbreaking technology at Teck sites.”

“As a founding member of the Digital Technology Supercluster, Teck is operating in an ecosystem that’s very different than groups we normally interact with; from start-ups to medium-size tech companies, we’ll have tremendous opportunities to work closely with other companies, non-profits and academia on really big, ambitious goals that have the potential to fundamentally change mining and other industries, in really positive ways.”

Canada’s Innovation Superclusters Initiative

Announced in February of this year, Teck is a founding member of the Digital Technology Supercluster, one of five Superclusters formed by the Government of Canada as part of their Innovation Superclusters Initiative.

Through the initiative, the Government of Canada is investing up to $950 million—to be matched by the private sector—to support business-led innovation superclusters through high-value, strategic investments with the greatest potential to accelerate economic growth. It’s projected that over the next 10 years, the initiative will generate 50,000 jobs and grow Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP) by $50 billion.

The Digital Technology Supercluster is based in B.C. and will advance projects that are guided by defined industry needs. The chosen projects will advance solutions using virtual, mixed and augmented reality, data analytics and quantum computing, to help solve some of the most pressing productivity, health and sustainability challenges facing Canada and the world today.

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